Monday, November 22, 2010

For My Daughters - I love you now and always!!

November 22, 2010

For my daughters: Cody, age 19,  Kati, age 13, and Tori, age 6.

One of the best daily habits I told myself I would take-up when Cody was born and have actually managed to stick with is to tell each of you everyday that "I love you!" (I know, Cody, that you don't hear it everyday anymore - but that's because you insisted on moving away for college. I do try to text it to you regularly, though!!) I do sincerely pray that each of you knows how very special and dear and wonderful and amazing to me you are. My life would be so much less without you - I cannot even comprehend the thought.

I wanted to share three of the things that I pray about often for each of you. Even though there are several years between each of you in age, I have common hopes and dreams for all three of you. That doesn't mean that I don't respect your individuality. Probably no one knows better than your mom how unique each of you is. Still these hopes are for all of you. Each of these are things that I am not good at telling you or maybe even showing you. This is partially because life is so busy and sometimes it's more than enough just to get from one day to the next. It is also partially because I am so emotional and can't talk about things that mean so much to me without blubbering. Just so you know, I am blubbering as I type this, but it's easier to get through this way as long as I don't get my keyboard wet.

Dear Girls, I pray that each of you will learn to love God's word. This does NOT mean that I hope that you will all turn into the same kind of Bible-study loving freak that your mom is. (I wouldn't be upset if that happened, though.) It's just that God has so many wonderful things to say to you and I so don't want you to miss out on His message. God loves you, Cody. God thinks you are amazing, Kati. God knows you are special, Tori. I know this through His word and it would be so great if you could learn this for yourselves. If you have questions, He has answers. If you need encouragement - His word holds it. Need a kick in the rear? The Bible has those, too.

I pray for the man that God has in mind for each of you, because I believe He does have a perfect someone for you.  I pray that you will have the patience to wait for him and the discernment to know him when God brings him to you. I pray that Mr. Right will first love God and then love you. It that is the case you will be loved better than you could ever imagine.

But most of all I pray that each of you will want to know God personally and intimately. He will be the best and truest friend you could ever have. You see, dear Girls, people will let you down. I'm afraid you already know this because you have me in your life. I know that I am far from a perfect mother, or perfect wife, or perfect geek. I know that I have disappointed each of you in ways both small and big and I know that others have done the same. It's rather unavoidable with people in your life. But God will never leave you or stop loving you or give up on you - never, never, ever.

Lastly I will also admit that I hope you will always know how much I love you. There is NOTHING you can do that will ever change that. My love for you will never come close to matching God's, but it is the best that I am humanly capable of.

I will always be thankful for you, Cody.
I will always be thankful for you, Kati.
I will always be thankful for you, Tori

Your, Mom

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A lost cellphone, a noisy house, and Dad is the Hero.

I lost my cellphone - again - for awhile last night. This is, I humbly admit, not a completely unusual occurrence. I have a bad habit of carrying it with me and setting it down in random places - usually out in the open where I easily retrace my steps and find it....but not always. I'm thinking this may be more of a concern since I upgraded to my new HTC Droid Incredible. (Squeeeeelll!!!!) Ah, yes, I love my new phone. My continuing iPhone envy is drastically diminished since my Droid came into my possession and my techy-loving side is extremely giddy.

Anyway, back to the lost cellphone...my youngest daughter Tori was playing a game called 'Teeter' on it while we were catching up on some back episodes of "Chuck" last night.  Then the show was over and it was bed time and after going through the usual nighttime routine I remembered I needed to plug in my phone for the night.  I have learned that this is absolutely necessary with SmartPhones because the battery lasts nada without being recharged constantly.  Well, I did not find it immediately. Considering my past history this was not a cause for great concern. It always shows up eventually.

Well, an hour later and still no phone and I was starting to be more than slightly bothered. Where had the durned phone got to? I wanted to blame my 6-year-old-Teeter-playing champion, but instinctively knew better. The last mental image I had was of her playing with my phone while we watched TV, but somehow I knew that she was not the last person to handle it. Finally I resorted to the usual effective technique which is to use another phone to call my cellphone.  This is where I discovered how noisy my house is.

Mind you, I would not have been surprised if my house was noisy at say....3pm in the afternoon. That is when kids are getting home from school and they are chattering and the dogs are barking a welcome and the bird is shrieking to be let out of his cage and the phone will ring and a the doorbell might chime in, too. I expect my house to be noisy during the day. I do not expect it at 10pm at night when the kids/dogs/bird are all asleep. Naturally, the challenge became obvious when I realized that my phone was set on vibrate - as it normally is when I am at work and do not want personal calls disturbing the office. I never think to turn the ringer on when I head home. Still, I've managed to call it when lost before and listen carefully and was able to hear a faint buzzing which would lead me to the missing phone.

That was not to be the case this time.  The first time I called all I could hear was my ringtone playing through the receiver of my land-line. Note to self: Update Ringtone!! The second time I called and quickly stuffed the receiver under a pillow all I could hear was my furnace kicking off. The next time I tried listening in the kitchen and the hum of my refrigerator thrummed away. Thinking maybe the phone was in the basement I tried yet another call and my attention was drawn to a low branch rubbing against a window. What a racket!! All I wanted to hear was my lovely new cellphone and it was being stubbornly mute!!

I realized I had fallen to that sad level of being that left me feeling extremely insecure without my cellphone. I knew I was going to to bed and would not be using it immediately, but if I did not find it soon, the battery would wear out, the signal would go dead, and it could be lost FOREVER in some dark crevice of my house and I would never see it again and it is EXPENSIVE to replace and I LIKE texting my kids and friends and how would I keep up with my check-ins on Foursquare? Oh, yes, this is the new-age-techno-pathetic depth I had plunged to.

After only 14 attempts to call my unresponsive phone I gave up and went to bed.  The next day my husband took one look at my sad, downcast face and jumped in to help in the cellphone search. Mind you, this is rather humbling to me.  I am the MOM and the MOM is the one who can always find things when no one else can. This time, though, the MOM, was completely ineffective.  Terry retraced all the steps I had taken - several times - last night and low & behold a miracle occurred in the laundry room when he stepped on (but did not harm) my cellphone lying on the floor next to the dryer (rather mockingly, I might add) underneath a pile of clothes waiting their turn for a cycle through the laundry. I SWEAR I looked there. At least I think I did, didn't I?  I was so glad to be reunited with my Droid that I was able to sincerely thank him for finding my phone and didn't mind a bit that the MOM had, this time, been one-uped by the DAD. Beginner's Luck, probably.

Monday, October 4, 2010

10-Fold - Check it out!!



Mark you calender and spread the word! From October 10th through the 19th, there is going to be a 10-day online event that will mobilize passionate people to stand up and be counted for causes they believe in, and you will have a front row seat. It's called 10-Fold.

Each day will feature a different mission project of the General Board of Global Ministries supported through the Advance, the designated giving are of the United Methodist Church. Through live webcasts, streaming video, online chats, and other media, you will learn about these amazing ministries that are changing people's lives.

And by visiting 10-Fold.org daily and registering your interest, you'll be able to help secure tangible support for each project. It's easy. With one click, you can trigger a $1.00 donation each day of 10-Fold, up to $10,000 for each project.

Be a part of a movement that mulitplies God's work, be counted, and help create an effect that is 10-Fold in good works!!

Want to learn more? Click here: The 10-Fold Video

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our Cockatiel likes NPR....at least I hope he does.

My middle child Kati has a male (at least we are pretty sure he's a male) cockatiel named Teela. I know that may seem like a rather feminine name for a boy, but it's the one he came with and it has just stuck. An unfortunate result of this, though, is that Teela is randomly referred to as a she and then we'll think again later and realize "she" is not correct and use "he." The poor bird either is in a gender identity crisis or thinks we're all idiots in the household because we can't figure out something so simple as the correct gender of our bird.

Kati & Teela


Kati is our animal lover and when learning she had finally manipulated convinced her parents to allow her to get a cockatiel she started doing research. Teela is fortunate to have Kati looking out for him because she knows what kind of birdseed is supposed to be good for cockatiels and how much/often they should be fed, given clean water, what kind of social interaction is best for them, etc. It if were up to me the bird would definitely not be nearly so spoiled well-taken care of.

One thing that Kati learned is that domestic pet birds don't do well when left alone for several hours in a quiet house.  Apparently the only time things would be very quiet in their "natural" habitats would be when a predator is close by.  Kati could just picture poor Teela becoming extremely stressed and neurotic thinking there were predators surrounding him after spending the day alone in a quiet house when we are all gone at school or work.  Our solution to this is to leave the radio on in the living room where his cage is.  We don't often listen to this radio and it seems to be permanently stuck on our local NPR station. After thinking this through it seemed like a good choice. There is a combination of music and talking which should provide a variety of sound to jazz up Teela's day.

Teela is still extremely excited to greet whomever is the first person home and begs to be let out of his cage the minute he hears the front door open.  I hope this is because he is just anxious for "real" company and not because he can't stand another minute of NPR.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I am NOT promising to be more consistent........

Okay, so I was reading a blog post by Ree Drummond who is the Pioneer Women on her blog Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Ree's style is wonderful - she's honest and frank and got me thinking that I should make more of an effort to do SOMETHING with my own blog. I have a constant running blog going on in my head all the time, but too rarely make the effort to transfer it into actual print. And I know that I lose a lot by that lapse, because my head only holds so much and new stuff pushes out old ideas all the time.

I love that Ree says to write your blog like you are talking to your sister. And, yes, I have a sister!! And, I love talking to her! And, if I'm writing to her I don't have to worry about whether she'll understand certain references or sarcastic remarks, because she GETS me!! And if any of you don't get what I'm saying, well, just go ask my sister to explain it to you.

So here I am actually writing something and wishing I had a magic pill that would enable to me to be more disciplined in my writing. I like that Ree tells me I can be varied in my topics. I had read somewhere that a "successful" blog has a point and a purpose and a focus - and I kept trying to figure out what my "niche" was. Now I feel like someone has been given me a free pass to be myself!! Woohoo!! After all this is MY blog, Kathy's blog, and it should represent Kathy. And I am not always the same person every single day. There are times when I do have a focus and a purpose and times when I just need to blow off steam and times when I just wonder strange random thoughts and was just too self-conscious to make them public. I'm going to work on that - the being too self-conscious part. If you don't like what I write go find another blog to read. So there.

So, back to wanting a magic pill.....I think that I sometimes sabotage myself with images of what a "perfect" blogger does, so I just want myself to know that I am NOT promising to be a more consistent blogger. Whew, that really takes a lot of pressure off!!

So, my thanks to Ree Drummond for the inspiration. We'll see what happens from here on out!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Learning to Be OCD

Okay, I know that OCD usually has negative connotations and most folks who have such a disorder have to learn to compensate for it in some manner. So you might think it somewhat strange that someone would consider striving to achieve this condition. Well, okay - it seems strange to me, too, but here's why: my life is a bit too far into the random zone. Admittedly there is an argument for spontaneity and leaving yourself room to be flexible. My problem is that these characteristics have taken over to the point of causing extreme stress and chaos and heartache in my household.

So...after ANOTHER major emotional meltdown awhile ago I found myself on the floor of my disheveled living room wiping away tears as I prayed. Looking back it really was a very lovely pity party. "Why, God, why can't I function as other mature rational adults seem to? Why is it that I struggle with deadlines and simple household chores and taking care of my kids and pets and don't even get me started on my husband?" Basically I was asking -again- the age old question of "Why me?" I just knew that another missed deadline or lost school assignment or past-due notice would put me even farther over the emotional crisis edge-as if I wasn't already there. Chaos is self-perpetuating. One after another simple screwed-up event had multiplied to become a household in total disarray, with finances askew, disgruntled children, a frustrated husband, and a distraught wife.  Flat-out, I had had enough. Something needed to be different and I was ready to do ANYTHING to make that happen. Granted, I'd thought I had reached this point in the past - several times actually-only to find myself in the same disorganized rut all too soon. This time, though, I'm pretty sure I felt a somewhat different kind of hope. After so many tries and failures at getting my life back on track I had a long list of ways NOT to succeed. Maybe what was left were options that might actually work!!

I have long been a fan of the FlyLady. Her website is http://www.flylady.net and she is my hero. She has a wonderful testimony about how she came to the be the FlyLady. The FlyLady promotes learning good habits to organize your life and NOT beating yourself up for not getting it right. F.L.Y. stands for Finally Loving Yourself. In my renewed journey to get my act together I turned to her to get me going in the right direction. FlyLady promotes babysteps - and you must take those one at a time.

Even though everything facing me seemed overwhelming, I could only handle one thing at a time. So, I decided to start with learning a good daily routine. I knew that this time I had to involve my family as much as possible. My girls have been very supportive. My husband-well, let's say the kids and I are going to have to win him over. Even after 22-years of marriage we still have different ideas on how things should be done. One of the drawbacks of two bossy oldest children marrying each other.

Learning good daily habits - simple things like making your bed when you get up, eating breakfast (don't laugh), checking your calendar for what's happening when, actually looking at the list you made to help you remember what you need to do that day, brushing your teeth before you go to bed.  The FlyLady encourages us to have everyday lists that include all the basic things you do - no matter how mundane. It's scary how well she gets me sometimes. But at the same time it's also very reassuring to know that I am not alone. If I were, the FlyLady's website would not be as popular as it is! The kids and I are practicing this in the summer. My hope is that by the time school hits we'll be ready to tackle the added events school entails. Things like homework deadlines, school events, when lunch money is due, having our backpacks loaded and in the same location to avoid last minute rushing in the morning to find everything we need so were not late...again panics. I'm somewhat nervous about all this, but we really are doing much better so far!! And I love that FlyLady stresses not letting yourself wallow in feeling behind. Just jump in where you are now and get busy!!

Learning good daily habits may not be the definition of OCD - but for me it's close. And the nice thing is that it's working. My stress level had been much lower, my house is in better shape than it's been in quite some time. My kids like eating regular meals (don't laugh). I still have much to conquer, but I have faith that we're going to be okay - one baby step at a time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Win a Kitchen Aid Mixer!!

It's red - and cool - and free to the winner! Check out this link to Saving Dinner's contest for a Kitchen Aid mixer.  Found this through a post on The Flylady's Facebook page. Saving Dinner and the Flylady are two of my favorite sites - they have helped to change my life when it comes to taking care of my house and feeding my family!  So - go enter the contest - and good luck!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I got a comment!!!

Okay, so one of the things I always wonder as an amateur/infrequent/sporadic blogger is if anyone ever reads what I post. After all - that is one of the reasons for bothering to type something up and send it on its way through the world wide web - at least it is for me. I know there must be some authors who write because they want/need to write and whether anyone reads their stuff or not is not such a big deal. I don't know any of them, though.

So, on the rare occasion that I get actual proof of someone reading my posts - I get excited. And last week I had a "celebrity" comment on my blog post titled "Flunking Lent". Yes, Susan from 5 Minutes for Mom posted a comment on my blog. I was so ecstatic that I squealed like my daughters do when they are excited. You see Susan - if you don't already know - is a PRO in the blogging world. And I am not. I love the site she and her sister run. I found them last year when I stumbled across a link to something called the 2009 Ultimate Blog Party. It was so much fun! They offered prizes (I won one!!!) and the opportunity to visit other blog sites and places to list yours to bring others to check you out. Talk about an awesome networking/fun opportunity. I'm guessing Susan happened upon my blog because I Tweeted that they are planning The Ultimate Blog Party 2010. So, in truth she may just have been doing the pro thing by following up on those of us who where sharing the #UBP10 on Twitter - but I don't care!! Thanks, Susan, for taking the effort to write out a couple of short sentences on my post - you made my week!!!

I noticed on another blog that the author made a point of asking for comments on her blog posts. She said that comments were her love language. That hit home with me - because the truth is Susan's comment isn't the only one that has put me on the Blogger Cloud Nine. Anytime, my sister comment's (she is my most faithful reader - thanks, Jeanette, I love you!!) I am thrilled. And the few times anyone else has made the effort to let me know that they stopped by have been great.

I know that there is a potential downside to seeking a response to my posts. There could be blog scrooges out there just waiting to ruin my day by commenting negatively. That's part of the beauty of screening my comments before allowing them to be published. If you want to have a decent discussion/argument/disagreement about an opinion of mine then I'm up for that. If you just want to be rude or ugly - you'll have to go somewhere else.

So, if you didn't get the hint after reading this - leave me a comment!! I love conversation - even in short small bursts and you will definitely make my day a good one!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Flunking Lent

I'm think I am flunking Lent. I know I am not Catholic, so I'm not as versed as I probably should be in proper Lent practices, but I'm pretty certain if you can flunk Lent, then I'm doing it. That is hard to admit for someone who generally got A's &  and a few B's in school. (We aren't counting my statistics class.)

It all seemed so simple on Ash Wednesday. I knew Lent was approaching - we'd been talking about it in church. My church actually holds TWO Ash Wednesday services - one at noon and one in the evening on Ash Wednesday. If it is worth two services in the same day for a kick-off - then Lent MUST be important, right? I had even discussed with my two daughters about what they had thought about giving up during Lent. Chocolate and Candy were at the top of their lists.

I really wanted to do something meaningful. Something that could give this Lenten season even more significance. After all - part of the point of doing something/giving something up during Lent is to make it different from the rest of the year. As Christians we are approaching Easter. And it only seems right that we give this season the special attention it deserves. I have some friends who don't want to "institutionalize" their faith, so they refuse to give up or do anything different during Lent. I kind of feel sorry for them. I think it is good for me to, at least once a year, intentionally be reminded of what Christ did for me back on the cross. So, I figured that whatever I chose had to be something that would not be easy for me.

After much consideration I decided to try some obedience in an area of my life that needs great improvement. The particular area I decided to focus on during Lent is how I handle my personal paperwork. You know, the mail that comes in every day, bills that have to be paid, the constant never ending stream of notes that come home from my daughters' teachers, and the like. My "old method" was the "Let's pile them on a corner of the dining table until the stack topples over and spills all over the floor and we scoop up the stack and hide it in the bedroom" method. At least I always knew that if I needed to find a piece of paper it was either on the table or in the stack in my room. For Lent I was going to dedicate 15 minutes a day, 6 days a week, to dealing with these papers.

Week one: I started off with much zeal and many good intentions.  I loved looking at my dining room table and NOT seeing the usual stack of papers. This was going to be much easier than I thought.

Week two: I realized that I had skipped two days of handling paperwork and there was a small stack beginning to take root. I quickly dealt with it and vowed to be better in the future.

Week three: Rough week. Maybe tackled the papers twice this week.

Week four: It has been exactly four weeks since Ash Wednesday and when I stumbled out into my kitchen to start the coffee a growing pile of papers was on the table this morning mocking me. I kid you not - they were mocking me. DARING me to try and move them from the table - and not just into the bedroom. I wondered if my friends who won't "institutionalize" Lent may be smarter than I was giving them credit for. Briefly I fantasized about throwing the entire stack into the garbage or better yet - setting it on fire and roasting marshmallows. But the thought that somewhere in that stack was a permission slip I needed to sign and send back to school with my daughter stopped me. I didn't want to have to ask (again) for another slip from her teacher. Instead, I sorted through the stack, threw away the junk mail, found the confounded permission slip, signed it, put it into said daughter's back-pack, and set the bills aside to be paid. All in all - it took less than 15 minutes.

It was then that a ray of hope began to break through the black cloud that had been forming over my head after the first mocking taunts from the now non-existent pile of papers. Not one slip had ended up in my bedroom! And, thinking back to the past four weeks I realized that the pile in the bedroom has been slowly dwindling even with my sporadic filing because just the daily influx of papers doesn't take up my entire 15 minutes of filing. And-there are still two weeks of Lent left!! Maybe, just maybe, with God's help, by the time Lent is over I will have managed to develop the good habit of handling my papers in a more timely manner than when I started. And considering how difficult it is for me to make this change in my life I'll be ecstatic if I get a "C" for Lent this year. Just like I was ecstatic for a C in that statistics class in college. (The 2nd time I took it.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Won!!

God is pretty cool. I entered Lifeway's All Access contest to win Margeret Feinberg's Scouting the Divine: Searching for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey!! - and I won!!! It's very exciting and I'm looking forward to journeying through this study with my adult Sunday School class after Lent!! Thank you, Lifeway - may your ministry continue to glorify God and bless others as I have been blessed!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Win a FREE Scouting the Divine Bible Study Kit!

Here's an opportunity to win a free Bible Study kit!

Check out this link from Lifeway's All Access! Follow the steps to participate and you, too, could have the chance to win Margeret Feinberg's Scouting the Divine: Searching for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010-Decade in Review

I have seen several other friends on Facebook and in emails give a synopsis of the last decade and thought, "What a neat idea - I should do that!" And a little voice in my head - "Yeah, and try to get it done before the NEXT decade begins." I will always be in procrastination recovery and so it is with great pride that I get to this task before I am 10 DAYS into the new decade - much less 10 years!!

2000 - we lived in Roselle, IL. Cody was in the 4th grade and Kati was in preschool. Terry worked for a couple of higher education firms as vice-pres of admissions and such. I worked as a PreK teacher for a Christian daycare/preschool. Not a field I'd ever anticipated, but it allowed me the opportunity to work around kids & school and have time at home with my family.

2001 - disasterous year for the Sanfords. We moved in June to Cerritos, CA and spent six LLLOOOOONNNGGG agonizing months experiencing life too close to Los Angeles, job loss, our first time being the minority in a community that was 90% Korean. My kids were lonely, I was lonely, Terry was struggling to make the right decisions for supporting his family. God had much to teach us in California and I needed Him more there than I ever had before in my life. (I feel I must say not all of our California experience was bad - we did make some wonderful friends - but overall it is way up on my list of things I do NOT want to ever have to go through again.) Top it off with 9-11 - and well, there's just not much else to say.

2002 - Somehow seemingly miraculously we found ourselves back in Wyoming!! I was so grateful to be back in my home state I didn't even care that we had ended up in Cheyenne. We finally were able to get the dog our girls had been begging for, Terry was working for the National Guard, I got a job with a lawfirm part-time. Cody started 6th grade and Kati started Kindergarten and for the first and probably only times in their lives my two kids were in the same school.

2003 - Bought our 1st home in Cheyenne!! Added 2nd dog that I am still having to apologize for. Terry and I still with the same employment. Overall a rather calm year for our household.

2004 - At the age of 36 I gave birth to my third daughter. This really threw me for a loop, because in my mind we were done having children. Obviously God had different ideas!! In no time at all my memories of life with only two kids were fuzzy and it seemed impossible to imagine what life without Tori as a part of it was ever like. I cut my work hours down to next to nothing and for the first time was able to stay home with my new baby. I didn't know it at the time but I met one of my lifelong best friends at church as she was leading an adult Sunday school class.

2005 - Two great departures. My dear friend Tobi moved to Utah as her husband was transferred with the Air Force. My husband shipped halfway around the world to Afghanistan as he began what was to be 14 months of deployment with Army National Guard. Fortunately before she left Tobi introduced me to my next bestest friend Rhonda by ordering me to join a ladies bible study. I could not have dealt with that year without the support I found in that circle of sisters.

2006 - After thinking I would never have a son (at least not before one of my girls got married) - Terry sent me one from Afghanistan. We took a leap of faith and invited the young man who had been his interpreter during his deployment to come live with us and have the chance to go to an American college. Right from the first moment he ever spoke to me over the phone Najib has called me "Mom." His own Afghan father told him that to really succeed in a new country he did not need mere "hosts" - he needed a family. I am so glad that Najib took his father's advice. He quickly worked his way into the hearts of his adopted family. It is only truly with God's help that we were able to integrate a young Muslim male into our predominantly female Christian family - and make it work.

2007 - This year was dominated by lots of medical visits and trips to Ft. Carson for Terry as he worked through injuries to his knee and ankle that he had received in Afghanistan. A tough one because for the first time in his life he was forced to admit that he had physical limitations. This did not happen quickly or easily for him - those of you who know him, know that he has something of a stubborn streak. We bought our 2nd house and moved to a new neighhborhood. I started going back to work a few more hours each week when Tori started preschool. Kati is not happy to be starting 5th grade in new school - she's my girl who never likes change!! Cody started driving. Lots of praying in our home - at least by me!

2008 - Terry ended up retiring after over 27 years with the military. Kati is somewhat more resigned to her "new school" as a 6th grader. Cody began her senior year and Najib left us to move first to Oregon and then eventually back to Afghanistan as he got a job with an American firm as an interpreter. My sadness at his leaving is helped somewhat by having another Afghan interpreter and his whole family move to Cheyenne. Life just wouldn't be the same without all of them calling me "Mom."

2009 - My "milestone" year with all of my girls. Cody insisted on becoming a college freshman and moved to Laramie. Kati started 7th grade and entered the hormonally packed world of junior high. And Tori started Kindergarten. Tori was not happy that Cody left - especially after Najib had already done so. It helps that Cody is not all that far away and we do get to see her occasionally!! Don't know what we'll do when it's Kati's turn to go!! Fortunately we have a few years to figure that out.

2010 - And here we are - one week into the new decade. I would never have imagined my life to be where it is now. This makes me even more unable to have any idea where the next 10 years will lead. I know that there are things I would like to see happen so I will borrow from my dearest friend Rhonda and say this: "Lord, this is what I desire. Please do it or something better!" Amen."